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438

had been sitting. She opened the door, cautiously, a little
way, and slipped through the aperture, The door drew to
behind her, and the bar of the latch, with a slight, woody
scraping, sank into its socket.

After a while he got up from the bed, and moved to the
lamp, and leaned toward it, and blew out the flame. No light
showed yet at the window. The breeze had died down long
before, and an uncertain drizzle had now begun. Its fresh-
ness penetrated into the dull air of the room. While outside,
on the leaves and the grass, the tentative susurrus of the rain
proceeded, he stood there in the dark room.

When Mr. Munn first came out to the back porch, Willie
Proudfit was coming up the path with a bucket of milk in each
hand. He waited until he had come within a few paces,
and then said, "Good morning." Willie Proudfit answered
him gravely and went on into the kitchen. Mr. Munn stood
there for a moment, hearing the slosh of the milk being
poured, and then moved off the porch into the yard. The
hard-packed earth of the path looked scarcely damp. The
leaves and the grass, however, were wet, and beads of water
hung here and there, glistening in the clear light.

Willie Proudfit came out of the kitchen door, and approached
him. Without speaking, he stood for a moment beside Mr.
Munn, casting his glance slowly about him over the yard and
the bluffside, and then at the sky, as though he were making
his first appraisal of the new morning. Finally he began,

" Perse-----" and then hesitated, still not turning toward Mr.

Munn,

"Yes?" Mr. Munn asked.

" Perse-----" and he hesitated again. Then he swung round

toward Mr. Munn. "I ain't one to beat round the bush," he
said, " Sumthen gits in my head, and I says hit Hit ain't in
me to ,do no other way. You know they ain't nuthen right
and proper I wouldn't do fer you. You know my house is
yore'n fer you to stay in, and me proud to say hit. But they's
sumthen fer me to tell."